Feria de Las Flores
Feria de Las Flores, Medellin, Colombia. Photo by Rubí Flórez and used under a Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic license.
Every year during the Feria de Las Flores or Flower Festival the city of Medellin hosts a week-long schedule of events and festivities including the world famous parade of silleteros. During the month of August, La Feria de Los Flores (The Flower Festival) attracts people from all around Colombia to the city of Medellin. In fact, tourists arrive to the city from all parts of the world including the USA, Australia and Europe just to witness the special attractions that include a trail ride through town on horses, orchid competition, music festivals and parade of silleteros. Steeped in rich tradition and botanical excellence, the city of Medellin truly comes alive as it displays its proud heritage in the brilliant colors of its flowers that grow in and around the countryside. In fact, you might say this flower festival is as much a part of Medellin’s cultural identity as the 4th of July is for the USA.
Also included in the week-long schedule of events at the Feria de Las Flores is a fireworks show to begin and end the festival, dog and mascots walk, National Trova Festival, Classic & Antique car parade, Sanalejo Market, Orchids/Flowers & Birds Expo, National Equestrian Fair, Humor City, orchestra festival, horse ride through town (cabalgata), caravan of chivas, popular/folk music concerts, activities for children, various displays and more. The Feria de Las Flores is packed with options for the visiting tourist and international travelers.
The city of Medellin is one of the major agricultural growing centers in the flower export industry that Colombia is famous for. In fact, Colombia is the number two supplier of live flowers to world markets, just behind Holland.
Original “Silletero” from Santa Elena, Colombia
History of La Feria de Las Flores
The first Feria de Las Flores or flower festival took place in the month of May, 1957 under the direction of Arturo Uribe who was a member of the tourist bureau for Medellin. It was his idea and suggestion that the state of Antioquia and the city of Medellin should host a tribute to the thriving flower industry of Colombia. Originally referred to as “The Flower Party”, the original festival was held during the month of May and lasted only 5 days. It was a strong regional attraction, unlike today’s Feria de Las Flores mega-event that attracts international attention and includes sophisticated social events, music concerts, parades, expos and private parties.
Unlike today, the 1957 schedule of events was limited to a slimmed down version that included;
1) A flower exposition that took place in the high altar (atrium) of the Basilica Metropolitana organized by the Medellin Gardener’s Club and Monsignor Tulio Botero.
2) A “silleteros” parade that included the participation of 40 peasant families from the Santa Elenaarea of Medellin. These families walked through the downtown area in a circuit that ended at Bolivar Park (Parque Bolivar).
3) The original event also included musical celebrations, dancing parties as well as the participation of beauty queens, custom carriages and horses.